Tag Archives: Spreading Misinformation

Calling BS on “Draconian Business Closure Edicts”

This will end up being a prelude to a post I had already planned on doing about finally getting out on the town on Tuesday night; coming soon (like later tonight).

However, I once again saw a story, (this time a blog post), exploiting the whole situation with COVID-19. While I frequently call BS on the Far Left, (because they have a much wider voice / reach), I’ll certainly pick on the Right also when they’re wrong. Such is the case here. The blog post talked about how Nashville had monkeyed with COVID statistics and used that as an excuse to implement “Dracnoian Business Closure Edicts”.

The trouble here is that I just was there two days ago. We went to go grab a pizza on Broadway; Nashville’s version of Music Row, and then try a milkshake place that was shown on the Food Network’s ‘Best Thing I Ever Ate’.

local rule; as long as you’re at your table, you don’t need a mask.

Truth? Everything was open. Every joint on the strip had live music, social distancing was actually at a bare minimum, and I saw next to nothing closed. The Ryman Auditorium was open, etc… The only thing I really saw closed at all was the civic center. We parked near there since it was the one parking spot we knew, and walked a good mile or so. We passed the hockey arena and the Country Music Hall of Fame along the way too.

Everyone in LA is an Actor, and everyone in Nashville is a singer, lol

In fact, I was actually a little annoyed at the number of people walking around without masks at all. Police were out also but not enforcing the masks in public rule.

For those who haven’t read my previous posts, I’m very middle of the road on COVID-19. It CAN be quite dangerous but often isn’t, and it’s spread about twice as much as a bad flu season. I advocate using a mask in public, a little common sense, and NOT listening to the hysteria on BOTH sides of the issue. It is NOT the end of civilization, nor is it a completely fake story drummed up to scare people. It sickens me also that people on both sides of this mess are trying to exploit it for personal and political gain.

And both sides wonder why the public doesn’t trust anything they say on the issue, or anything else.

They want MY trust, they’re going to have to earn it via accurately informing, NOT manipulation and fear mongering.

Fact Checking in the Current Reality

Fact checking is getting increasingly difficult in today’s society. The ends justify any means seems to be the rallying cry of people connected with any and every cause out there. Politicians, media, special interest groups… They all play hard and loose with the truth. Even fact checking organizations like Snopes have been caught lying multiple times to suit various agendas.

So what’s the average person to do? Here are a few answers:

Question EVERYTHING:

I’m talking… writing about maintaining an open mind and healthy skepticism of anything you hear. It doesn’t matter if you agree with it in principle or strongly oppose it.

Extreme? Every DAY we generate 2.5 Quintilian Bytes of new data. 90% of the information in the world has been generated in the last 2 years. That’s astounding if you stop and think about how much science and philosophy existed before that. Let’s break it down to the amount of data per minute:

graph courtesy of Domo.com

Are you getting the point? There’s a HUGE amount of new data being produced!

NOW, think about it logically and ask yourself; “How much of this is just complete, unsubstantiated crap put together by somebody with an axe to grind?” Is there REALLY that much new being discovered, or are people just rehashing the old AND in many cases, spinning it worse than a merry go round?

If science was advancing THAT fast, we’d have cured global warming and all disease, developed interstellar travel, teleportation and flying cars. We might have even found the mythical cure for stupidity, LOL.

So yes, the vast majority of what you see “new” any given day is going to be fluff or garbage. That is why you MUST question everything.

If There’s No Supporting Evidence, Treat it as Garbage:

Darn near every site from mainstream news to conspiracy sites like Prison Planet LOVE to make claims and “cite facts” with absolutely no physical evidence or credible first hand witnesses to back them up. The Kennedy assassination conspiracy is a great example here. Everybody knows this, everybody knows that… Where’s the proof to back up ANY of the 20 different theories out there? It’s all he said she said.

What IS Proof? Primary Sources:

Primary sources are something anyone who has gone to college has drilled into them. A primary source is a FIRST HAND witness’s or expert’s testimony, OR original documents relating to the specific issue. A history book about the Gettysburg Address is not a primary source (unless written by somebody who was there for it). A copy of the actual speech is.

In short, don’t believe some Coast to Coast AM guest saying Kennedy was killed over wanting to reveal UFOs unless he’s got government documents or Kennedy’s journals saying as much.

Bias and Half Truths:

The most common way to manipulate people is a half truth. All good lies are wrapped around a touch of the truth. It makes them more believable. Using a non-political example; “He ran the truck straight through that crowd without slowing down” sounds much different if “the brakes had failed” was a part of the hypothetical news story.

The news and other groups will play EXACTLY this kind of game with the truth though, just for the sake of ratings and sensationalism, or to push some agenda.

Bias is HUGE problem with half truths, even with primary sources. Facts are overlooked, ignored or outright hidden if it doesn’t suit an agenda. Health care is a great example. The US has the best health care in the world. True, but how good is it if you can’t afford it? Socialized medicine is the answer! Yeah if you want to wait five years and die before you get cancer treatment because you’re older and therefore less likely to benefit long term from treatment than a younger person.

Both sides play loose with the truth there and refuse to acknowledge the flaws of their own side.

The key here is to always ask “what is NOT being said?” and “what’s their agenda?”.

Timelines:

Here’s another important one. Most of the misinformation crowd does a BAD job checking facts on their own lies. Timelines being a prime example.

There’s an FDR quote from 1948 where he says some of his best friends are Communists. The only trouble there is that FDR died in 1945.

Likewise the infamous “Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes its laws.” quote attributed to Rothschild didn’t surface until a century after his death. Doesn’t mean I trust him or any other big banker, BUT the quote is questionable.

Great way to manipulate people into N.W.O. conspiracies and antisemitism though.

Multiple Sources:

Sometimes, particularly with current events, it’s damned near impossible to get the whole truth from any source. What you have to do in those cases is research multiple sources with differing points of view. Doing so with an open mind can often help you piece the bigger picture together.

Worry About What’s Relevant:

This is a BIG key to keeping your sanity in the current information apocalypse. Conspiracy fans are BAD here also. They’ll go back hundreds of years looking for the vaguest hint of something to prove a connection in a web of conspiracy. A good recent example with a friend was investigating Walter Cronkite. She found out Cronkite was a big NWO guy.

That’s all good and well, but Cronkite is dead and buried, and nobody out there is regularly quoting him as some paragon of wisdom. With the POSSIBLE exception of journalism schools, the guy is irrelevant nowadays as THIS N.W.O. guy:

Focus instead on the current crop of mainstream journalists who never met a globalist big government idea that they didn’t like and would say ANYTHING to promote. Or if you want to worry about dead people, worry about somebody like John Lennon and his utopian socialist fairy tale ideals that are still being spouted by people.

Conclusion:

My honest opinion is that the majority of stuff floating around the internet today was put there either by people too lazy to research and thus find the flaws in their stories, OR outright deliberately put there as misinformation to deliberately lead people astray. It’s infinitely harder to get to the truth of the Kennedy assassination if there are a dozen theories out there with “experts” all swearing this is the only possible explanation.

If you REALLY want the truth nowadays, you have to be willing to work for it. The situation is only going to get worse with the rise of deep fakes also. Soon we’ll have pics and videos everywhere of politicians doing the KFTC. Don’t believe it.

Research and verify! And that’s Tuesday Trash the way it is.

Beware Media Hysteria & Manipulation

It’s Tuesday! Time to take out the trash again. LOL

The coronavirus mess has done a lot to highlight media sensationalism and manipulation IF you’re paying attention and looking for facts. I’ve gone over the statistics in recent blog posts. This virus should be taken seriously. Sheltering in place and social distancing is a good idea. Is it the end of the world though? No.

If you paid attention to most media outlets, either we’re all going to die and it’s going to be worse than the Spanish Flu of 1918, OR we should all go out and lick shopping carts because it’s a hoax.

Ironic that the last proponent of “it’s all a fraud” that I heard was Rand Paul. He was on the radio a little under a week ago howling that it was all just an attack on civil liberties. No word on if he’s changed his tune since coming down with the virus. O_o

On the hysteria side, the best example I’ve seen was media sources quoting Emily Landon, MD, Executive Director Infection Prevention and Control, University of Chicago Medical Center in saying this was the Spanish Flu of 1918 all over again.

She (and the media quoting her) completely neglect to mention that the Spanish Flu killed somewhere between 17 and 50 million people. Some say as many as 100 million. She also fails to mention that the Spanish Flu was much more dangerous to younger people with stronger immune systems than COVID-19 is. There were also other secondary factors like areas still physically recovering from World War 1 getting hit extra hard.

As of today, we have 18,605 total deaths worldwide, 2091 just today. That’s enough to merit taking this seriously. It’s a FAR cry from 50 million people in a year though.

Here’s the thing with the shelter in place and other measures we’re all being advised to follow: If they work properly, it’s going to look like they were never needed, or at least were a big overreaction.

Stay calm, realize this will pass, and take anything the media EVER tells you with a grain of salt. Be skeptical. The media thrives on creating fear and anger.

So, let’s look at some of their more common tricks:

“Expert” Opinions:

The two examples above illustrate that the media will ALWAYS be able to find an “expert” to back up whatever opinion they have. Rand Paul and Emily Langston are both doctors, but have COMPLETELY opposite views on this mess. Why? Personal motivations.

Rand Paul was raised by his father to be a huge civil liberties guy. Normally we could use more of them too. Sometimes, common sense has to balance civil liberties with social good.

Emily Langston runs the Infectious Disease Center at the University of Chicago. A) the more noise she makes about this, the more money her center will get from the government and private donors. B) Given her role, she probably sees every new outbreak in terms of an absolute worst case scenario.

“Experts” almost always run off of motivated self interest before anything else. Another example from this pandemic is that it’s being reported that the CDC was actually downplaying how dangerous this outbreak was at the beginning. They supposedly got blindsided by it and didn’t want to look ignorant. I’ve only heard a few unconfirmed reports here, but if true it explains where the White House and others were getting bad info from.

Just hit a search engine if you want to see how many times the CDC has dropped the ball before. Anybody recall they were all for e-cigarettes as a healthy alternative to smoking when that first started?

Partial Truths:

Keep in mind that no matter how bad any media outlet spins a story, there’s always going to be just enough truth to avoid having to admit they bald faced lied. What do I mean?

OK, let’s say there’s a news story about some EVIL person swooping into the local store and buying up their entire inventory of toilet paper. The story takes on a whole different light if that “entire inventory” was the last package they had, doesn’t it? Technically they reported accurately BUT would they have given a true picture in that scenario? I’ve seen the media go this far in other cases to create ratings. I always ask what I’m NOT being told anymore.

Half Quotes:

Another favorite tactic of the media. Politicians on both sides either benefit or suffer from the tactic’s use. It all depends on who is doing the reporting on whom. Reagan used to get misquoted by the media all the time regarding his proposed shutting down the Department of Education. They’d report that he wanted children to suffer. They ignored that what he actually proposed was sending the funding directly to the states instead, believing people closer to the issues knew better how to spend the money than bureaucrats in Washington DC.

Leaving Out Key Facts:

There’s no test kits and medical supplies!!! How often have you heard THAT exaggeration in the news? Well, they’re ALL manufactured in CHINA, right down to every antibiotic that’s sold in the US. Anybody see a problem here? Anybody hear that fact reported, or is it all blaming the government and evil corporations?

Manipulative and Misleading Language:

I’ll finish this up with this one last major tactic. The media, politicians, corporations and PR firms, and some of the more manipulative individuals out there all pull this trick. Manipulative language is everywhere

One story on MSN’s home page talked about how the number of deaths from COVID-19 *SOARED* in the US. It sounds so dramatic doesn’t it? Virus spreading everywhere, no one is safe! If you look at the numbers though, we’re at 600 deaths nationwide. In a population of 330 million, that’s a pretty damned small number.

Again, let’s follow the advice out there and keep that number small. Be kind to your fellow bloggers and human beings too. Even when you know the facts, this is still a kind of scary situation.

BOTTOM LINE:

Be skeptical of anything the media tells you. Displaying personal bias and social engineering are seen as good things in the media today. Strong negative emotions = strong ratings also. No single source is going to get it all correct. It’s not enough to go to a source with a similar outlook also. If you like CNN, you’re only going to get the same info at MSNBC. You have to go to TownHall.com or Fox. The same is true of you flip the coin. Fox and talk radio slant the truth also. I catch them regularly. You have to look at and fact check both sides to find the more complete truth in the middle.

And for the love of humanity, DO NOT get your news from late night comedians or social media! Talk about fountains of misinformation and hysteria…

Proliferating Junk Science

It’s amazing how many topic ideas for commentary I can get just via the reading suggestions I get on my browser home page. They’re usually a case study in junk science and political correctness run amok.

Case and point today was an article on OutsideOnline.com that talked about how the benefits of stretching are becoming increasingly doubted by scientists. People who don’t understand why scientists are sneered at nowadays only have to look at articles like this. New “scientific” studies far too often seem to fall into two categories:

  1. Results somebody paid to get. The conclusion was pre-determined.
  2. Millennial scientists who are determined to be contrarian about everything.

It’s the nature of science to test and verify. I understand that. Weekly studies flip-flopping about the benefits of wine or coffee, along with this stretching thing (among many other examples) are really damaging the reputation of scientific research though.

I did martial arts for 17 years. At my peak, I trained for almost 4 hours a day. I can tell you, as can anyone who has been more than the most casual of athlete or fitness fan, that stretching is very important. Like anything, even drinking water, it can be overdone. Extreme flexibility runs a risk of damaging joints. Even then, weight and genetics factor in a great deal.

Somebody abusing or overdoing something does NOT make it inherently bad though. That goes for stretching, medicine, etc… all the way down to cars and guns. It’s the user that’s the problem in those cases.

Related to stretching, there’s yoga and Pilates. Stories are everywhere of their ability to heal all kinds of back and joint problems via the improvement of flexibility and strengthening of muscle and sinew. People have seen improvement shown in X-rays and MRIs, but it’s all nonsense. *headdesk*

I could get into a whole separate rant regarding how drug company scientific studies trash vitamins by using poor quality ingredients, use too low a level of vitamins and ignore other factors that impact the study (poor health in their subjects, etc…) That’s a post for another day however.

The only thing worse than the constant parade of this kind of junk from “scientists” is that media outlets publish it all as unquestioned fact. THAT is the media nowadays however.